Fifteen-year-old Japanese drummer Kanade Sato says she taught herself the melody to Chick Corea’s “Spain” before speaking words. She started playing drums at three years old, and decided to become a professional drummer at five. At age 11, in 2014, she won the “Grand Prix” award in the Hit Like a Girl competition. Now, she is playing with her new band “Ear Candy Jazz Factory” with Rei Narita and Naoko Sakurai.
Women are underrepresented in the percussion world. Our weekly series, Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW), aims to recognize, celebrate, and inspire female percussionists of all stripes. Each Wednesday we’ll feature a profile of a drummer, who will share tips, advice, and videos.
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#WCW: The Amazing, 15-Year-Old, Jazz-Fusion Drummer Kanade Sato
What is your city, country, and age?
I live in Saitama, Japan. I’m 15 years old.
What kind of gear do you use? What’s your setup?
I’m using a Pearl Reference Pure kit and Sabian cymbals. All are set on the drum rack: 20” kick, 8”, 10”, 12”, 14”, and 16” inch toms, 14” x 5” or 14” x 6.5” snare. It’s very cute with a custom-made pink fade color!
What bands/groups do you perform with, if any?
I have a band named “Ear Candy Jazz Factory.” We have a very cool and smooth sound.
What led you to your instrument? What’s your origin story?
My father has always played drums, so I grew up in that environment. Drums have been around ever since I was born. I thought that all the other households had drums! I think now, it was a very fortunate thing to have been around drums early.
Who is your favorite drummer and why?
I like Akira Jimbo, Steve Gadd, Dave Weckl, and Jeff Porcaro. They have fine techniques, grooves, and spirits. I want to be like them.
Are there any specific playing tips or techniques, or advice, exercises, or discoveries you’d like to share with Drum! readers?
In my case, when memorizing a complicated pattern, I learn phrases separately for both hands and feet, and assemble it in my head like a puzzle. Then I complete it.
As artists, the goal post for “success” is always moving. There’s not one “I made it!” point. How do you think about and define success?
Success to me means things like, Did the audience enjoy it? Was I comfortable with my own performance? Or even, Did I get a big offer? These measurements make me I feel that I am successful.
How important is failure in making music/performing?
Of course, it is better not to fail, but failure is not a big problem. I think that it’s important in that it helps us learn. We fail in order to not fail next time.
Any advice for girls contemplating getting started and making it in this arena?
Play with confidence in your style and play without hesitation!
Where else to find Kanade:
Facebook: Kanade Drum
Twitter: Kanade Drum
YouTube: Kanade Drum